Petition backed by Burleigh MP Michael Hart calls for young offenders to lose phones, social media
Petition backed by Burleigh MP Michael Hart calls for young offenders to lose phones, social media

Call for youth offenders to be stripped of phones, Facebook

A PETITION backed by a Gold Coast MP wants youth offenders to be stripped of their social media and their parents to be "held responsible" for their crimes.

The petition, started by former One Nation election candidate Georgie Batty, also calls for repeat offenders to undergo a "minimum six-month diversion program", a Child Safety home assessment before offenders can go home and "functional family therapy".

It follows the passing of legislation last month that allow trials of GPS monitoring devices, stronger anti-hooning laws and increased police powers, in an effort to crackdown on young criminals.

The number of child offenders breaking into homes, stealing cars and joy-riding on the Gold Coast and Logan has risen by more than 500 in just 12 months, according to police figures.

A total 4261 child offenders (10-17 years old) were charged for property offences between 2019-20, and a further 821 were charged with assaults, robberies and sexual offences.

The petition has been seconded by Burleigh MP Michael Hart.

Burleigh MP Michael Hart (LNP). Picture Glenn Hampson
Burleigh MP Michael Hart (LNP). Picture Glenn Hampson

"I don't agree with everything in the petition (but) I'll leave it to the people of Burleigh whether they agree with her petition or not," he said.

"I've got people in my electorate talking about setting up vigilante teams, which I completely discourage, but that's how frustrated people are."

The petition calls for:

* Refusing bail to youth offenders facing a sentence of two or more years.

* A six-month diversion program for repeat offenders.

* Removing "distractions" including mobile phones, tablets, video games, television and social media from youth detainees.

* "Diversion programs" instead of jail time like remote work and cadetships.

* A Child Safety home assessment before offender can return to home environment.

* Parents must be held responsible for children's crimes.

* Investigation into "functional family therapy" for youth offenders with "complex mental health and behavioural problems".

"Community safety is at the heart of everything we do in youth justice and this includes protecting our communities from high-risk repeat offenders," Minster for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Leeanne Linnard, said.

"As a result, we've seen a 30 per cent drop in the number of young offenders across the state since 2010.

"However, we know that 10 per cent of young offenders commit 48 per cent of youth crime in this state.

"This is why the government has introduced new measures to target hardcore young recidivist offenders. We have strengthened bail conditions for young people by introducing a presumption against bail for those who commit further serious indictable offences while on bail. This will put a brake on serious recidivist offending."

Ms Batty's petition has garnered more than 700 signatures in four days.

The Gold Coast mother previously ran against Mr Hart in the 2020 election as One Nation's Burleigh candidate, campaigning against abortion, pornography and the border closure's strain on small businesses.

 

Ms Batty did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.

Originally published as Call for youth offenders to be stripped of phones, Facebook

Former One Nation candidate Georgie Batty. Photo: Facebook
Former One Nation candidate Georgie Batty. Photo: Facebook


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